Correct grammar and punctuation is key to presenting polished and professional work. When planning your assignments, allow plenty of time for review and final editing. Whatever your assignment, the following will help you produce work free from grammar and punctuation errors.
Tips to improve your grammar
Use spell-check tools
Word processing programmes have inbuilt spell check tools so do make use of these:
Read your work out loud
As we become more proficient in reading, we sometimes skim words. You can spot errors much better by reading your work out loud as it can slow your reading pace.
Read with fresh eyes
Sometimes we become too close if we work on a document for so long and may miss errors. Once you have produced a draft, take a break from it for at least one day and then re-read it with fresh eyes. You’re likely to spot errors you may have missed if you have a break from your work.
Give your work to others to proofread
Have others proof your work as they may spot errors that you missed.
Tools to improve your grammar
There are many tools you can use to check and edit your writing. They are great to use but always do a final check by reading through your work before you submit.
Grammarly is an online grammar checking tool and you will need to download the Grammarly programme to your computer. You won’t have full access to all functionality if you download the free version. Some institutions pay for student access to the full version, do contact us to find out more. Sign up to create your own uoa account – Grammarly Manual April 2017.
Text Compactor can summarise long pieces of text. If you think your writing is too wordy, copy and paste your text into Text Compactor and it will summarise your writing for you.
Wordcounter scans your text and picks up words that are overused. Copy and paste your text into Wordcounter and remove some of the overused words from your assignment. You might also right-click the word in your assignment to identify an appropriate synonym.
This Readability Test Tool will assess how readable your writing is. Your assignment is well-written if it is readable and can be easily understood by lay people.
Common errors and how to avoid them
Merriam-Webster, a reputable publisher of language-related sources, explains common word confusions which can help you identify which terms to use: